B/R's 2020 College Football All-American Teams

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 21, 2020

B/R's 2020 College Football All-American Teams

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    Michael Woods/Associated Press

    After a spectacular season, Alabama wide receiver DeVonta Smith is among the 27 players named to Bleacher Report's 2020 All-American team.

    While he was an obvious choiceone of 11 unanimous selections for the rosterother choices were decidedly more difficult.

    Which Heisman Trophy candidate got the nod at quarterback?

    Who was the odd-man out between Breece Hall, Najee Harris and Jaret Patterson for the two running back spots?

    Tasked with answering those questions was Bleacher Report's college football staffDavid Kenyon, Adam Kramer, Kerry Miller, Joel Reuter and Brad Shepardwho each submitted a ballot.

    In place of the all-purpose spot on the AP All-American ballot, we've added a third wide receiver slot to better mirror the more pass-heavy offenses that many teams use.

    Let's dive right in.


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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    QB Mac Jones, Alabama (3 votes)

    There is no ignoring the season that Florida quarterback Kyle Trask has put together, as he leads the nation in passing yards (4,125) and passing touchdowns (43).

    However, Alabama signal-caller Mac Jones holds a significant edge in completion percentage (76.5 to 69.7), yards per attempt (11.4 to 10.1) and passing efficiency rating (202.3 to 186.7), and he won the head-to-head battle both on the scoreboard and in the box score Saturday in the SEC Championship Game.

    • Jones: 33-of-43, 418 yards, 5 TD, 1 INT
    • Trask: 26-of-40, 408 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT

    Both players are having terrific seasons, and there's a good chance they'll finish first and second in Heisman voting, but Jones gets the All-American nod.


    Others Receiving Votes: Kyle Trask, Florida (2 votes)   

Running Backs

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    Breece Hall
    Breece HallCharlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    RB Breece Hall, Iowa State (4 votes)

    Hall tallied 1,149 total yards and 10 touchdowns as a true freshman in 2019, and he elevated his game this season behind one of the best offensive lines in college football.

    He ran for at least 100 yards in each of the team's first eight games en route to an FBS-leading 1,436 rushing yards. His 266 total touches lead the nation, and he has found the end zone an impressive 21 times to help anchor the Cyclones' offensive attack.


    RB Jaret Patterson, Buffalo (4 votes)

    Despite playing in just six games this season, Patterson has racked up 1,072 rushing yards at a staggering 7.6 yards per carry, punching it into the end zone 19 times along the way.

    He was nothing short of unstoppable in back-to-back games against Bowling Green (301 yards, 4 TD) and Kent State (409 yards, 8 TD), and that was enough for him to edge out Alabama star Najee Harris for the second running back spot on B/R's All-American team.


    Others Receiving Votes: Najee Harris (2 votes)

Wide Receivers and Tight End

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    Kyle Pitts
    Kyle PittsThomas Graning/Associated Press

    WR DeVonta Smith, Alabama (5 votes)

    After tallying 68 receptions, 1,256 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2019, Smith made the surprising decision to return to Tuscaloosa for his senior season.

    He leads the nation in receptions (98) and receiving yards (1,511), and his 17 touchdowns are tops among all Power Five receivers. He had an 11-catch, 203-yard, four-touchdown game against Mississippi State the week after Jaylen Waddle suffered a season-ending ankle injury, and he has increased his production despite receiving even more attention from opposing defenses.


    WR Elijah Moore, Ole Miss (5 votes)

    The Ole Miss offense took a huge step forward under new offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby, and Moore was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the team's improved production.

    His 86 receptions and 1,193 receiving yards trail only Smith among FBS leaders, and he has been a model of consistency, tallying at least 10 catches and 100 yards in six of eight games. The Rebels closed out the regular season (excluding the rescheduled LSU matchup) on a three-game winning streak, during which time Moore had 39 catches for 602 yards and five touchdowns.


    WR Jaelon Darden, North Texas (3 votes)

    Regardless of who was under center during a season-long quarterback carousel at North Texas, Darden was a star week in and week out.

    The Mean Green wide receiver ranks fourth in receptions (74) and third in receiving yards (1,190), and his 19 touchdowns lead all FBS receivers. Not bad for a former 3-star recruit who generated minimal interest from Power Five programs out of high school.


    TE Kyle Pitts, Florida (5 votes)

    This was the definition of a no-brainer.

    The 6'6", 240-pound Pitts was an absolute force in the high-powered Florida passing game, hauling in 43 catches for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns in eight games. In raising his yards-per-catch average from 12.0 to 17.9, he showed he can be a big-play threat and sent his draft stock soaring in the process.


    Others Receiving Votes: WR Jaelon Darden, North Texas (3 votes), WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama (1 vote), WR Dax Milne, BYU (1 vote)

Offensive Linemen

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    Aaron Banks
    Aaron BanksPhelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    OT Christian Darrisaw, Virginia Tech (5 votes)

    A three-year starter who was the Hokies' left tackle as a true freshman, Darrisaw emerged as one of the best offensive linemen in the nation this year and a potential first-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft. The 6'5", 314-pound junior anchored a line tasked with protecting dual-threat quarterback Hendon Hooker.


    G Aaron Banks, Notre Dame (5 votes)

    Banks established himself as one of the best interior linemen in the country last year when he allowed just two sacks in 844 total snaps. He returned as one of the centerpieces of a dominant Notre Dame offensive line, and he was an easy choice to fill one of the guard slots on the All-American team.


    C Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa (3 votes)

    Originally recruited as a defensive tackle, Linderbaum redshirted as a freshman in 2018 and came out the other end as the team's starting center in 2019. He has taken to the position quickly, emerging as the leader of the Hawkeyes offensive line and one of the best linemen in the country.


    G Cain Madden, Marshall (3 votes)

    Despite not becoming a starter until midway through his redshirt sophomore season, Madden has quickly developed into a force for the Thundering Herd. He was the leader up front for a Marshall line that allowed just eight sacks in 10 games.


    OT Brady Christensen, BYU (3 votes)

    A 2-star recruit out of high school, Christensen has been a stalwart at left tackle for BYU the past three seasons, and he stepped up big this year amid injuries across the line.

    "He is as consistent of a player as I have been around," BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes said, per Kenny Cox of the Cougars' official website. "I have coached several guys who have been first-round picks and played in the NFL. He is as consistent or more consistent than any of those guys."


    Others Receiving Votes: OT Alex Leatherwood, Alabama (1 vote), OT Jake Fuzak, Buffalo (1 vote), G Wyatt Davis, Ohio State (1 vote), G Kendrick Green, Illinois (1 vote), C Landon Dickerson, Alabama (1 vote), C Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma (1 vote)      

Defensive Linemen

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    Daviyon Nixon
    Daviyon NixonCharlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    DE Jaelan Phillips, Miami (5 votes)

    There was no shortage of hype surrounding Temple transfer Quincy Roche heading into the 2020 season, and he's had a strong year for the Hurricanes. But it's the less-heralded Phillips who has stolen the show up front.

    The UCLA transfer has tallied 45 tackles (21 solo), 15.5 tackles for loss, eight sacks, three pass deflections and an interception, helping offset Gregory Rousseau's decision to opt-out of the 2020 season and sending his draft stock soaring.


    DT Daviyon Nixon, Iowa (5 votes)

    The Defensive Player of the Year in the Big Ten, Nixon leads the conference in tackles for loss (13.5) and sacks (5.5) as the star of an Iowa defense allowing just 2.8 yards per carry (sixth-fewest out of 127 FBS teams).

    His best game came against a good Northwestern team when he recorded 11 tackles (six solo), three tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble. He's one of the few defensive tackles in the country capable of taking over a game.


    DT Darius Stills, West Virginia (3 votes)

    He doesn't fill up the stat sheet, but Stills is unquestionably one of the best defensive linemen in the country, and he has a bright future in the NFL.

    The 6'1", 285-pound senior tallied 22 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks in eight games while serving as nose tackle for a stout West Virginia run defense that has allowed 126.2 rushing yards per game and 3.6 yards per carry.


    DE Joseph Ossai, Texas (3 votes)

    An edge-rusher who could qualify as a defensive end or a linebacker for the sake of this balloting, Ossai improved on his breakout 2019 season with more tackles for loss (15.5) and sacks (5.5) in four fewer games.

    His performance against Oklahoma State is the perfect example of the impact he can have on a game. He logged 12 tackles (seven solo), six tackles for loss, three sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in a 41-34 victory, helping hand the Cowboys their first loss of the year.


    Others Receiving Votes: DE Tarron Jackson, Coastal Carolina (1 vote), DE Patrick Jones ll, Pittsburgh (1 vote), DT Cameron Thomas, San Diego State (1 vote), DT Isaiah Thomas, Oklahoma (1 vote)


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    Zaven Collins
    Zaven CollinsMark LoMoglio/Associated Press

    LB Zaven Collins, Tulsa (5 votes)

    The breakout defensive player of the 2020 season, Collins has vaulted himself into the first-round conversation while leading Tulsa to national relevance a year after the Golden Hurricane finished 4-8.

    The redshirt junior has filled up the stat sheet all season, tallying 54 tackles (36 solo), 7.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, four interceptions, two forced fumbles, two pass deflections and two defensive touchdowns. That earned him AAC Defensive Player of the Year honors, and that could be the first of many awards he takes home in the coming weeks.


    LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame (5 votes)

    After redshirting as a freshman and suffering a broken foot as a sophomore, Owusu-Koramoah enjoyed a breakout 2019 season with 80 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.

    It's been more of the same this year, as he's logged 56 tackles (38 solo), 11 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, one interception, three pass deflections, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and one touchdown. He's the centerpiece of a Fighting Irish defense that has held opponents below 20 points six times.


    LB Mike Rose, Iowa State (2 votes)

    The Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, Rose led the conference with 51 solo tackles while also tying for the lead in total tackles (90) and interceptions (four). His 10 tackles for loss were also good enough to crack the top 10 among conference leaders, as he made an impact in the passing game and the running game.

    The 6'4", 245-pound junior was lightly recruited out of high school, choosing Iowa State over offers from Air Force, Ball State, Colgate, Lafayette and Princeton. Now he stands as one of the most productive linebackers in the country.


    Others Receiving Votes: Nick Bolton, Missouri (1 vote), Joseph Ossai, Texas (1 vote), Justin Rice, Arkansas State (1 vote)  

Defensive Backs

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    Patrick Surtain ll
    Patrick Surtain llVasha Hunt/Associated Press

    CB Patrick Surtain ll, Alabama (5 votes)

    The consensus top cornerback in the country entering the 2020 season, Surtain lived up to expectations and cemented his place as a surefire first-round pick in the 2021 NFL draft.

    While stats don't tell the whole story of his impact in the Crimson Tide secondary, he's recorded 31 tackles (18 solo), two tackles for loss, one interception and seven pass deflections. He'll be playing on Sundays for a long time.


    CB Ahmad Gardner, Cincinnati (3 votes)

    A 3-star recruit who was a first team All-AAC selection as a true freshman in 2019, Gardner tallied three interceptions and six pass deflections this year as one of the leaders of a terrific Cincinnati secondary.

    With cornerback Coby Bryant and safeties James Wiggins and Darrick Forrest all set to graduate, he'll be asked to anchor an inexperienced secondary next season. For now, he stands as a major reason for the team's success in 2020.


    S Brandon Joseph, Northwestern (4 votes)

    After redshirting last season, Joseph has been a game-changer in the Northwestern secondary with an FBS-leading six interceptions, including this highlight-reel play against Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.

    A 3-star recruit who ranked outside of the top 1,000 players in his class nationally, he's been a pleasant surprise for an upstart Wildcats team that forced 18 turnovers in eight games.


    S Trevon Moehrig-Woodard, TCU (3 votes)

    The highest-graded safety in the FBS by Pro Football Focus in 2019, according to the team website, Moehrig-Woodard entered the season with high expectations after garnering first-team All-Big 12 honors a year ago.

    The junior safety didn't disappoint, tallying 47 tackles (30 solo), two tackles for loss, two interceptions and nine pass deflections. The Horned Frogs surprised some people with a 6-4 record, and their secondary was a big reason for their success.


    Others Receiving Votes: CB Shakur Brown, Michigan State (1 vote), CB D'Jordan Strong, Coastal Carolina (1 vote), S Jamar Johnson, Indiana (1 vote), S Tykee Smith, West Virginia (1 vote), S Nolan Turner, Clemson (1 vote)

Specialists and Returners

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    Trestan Ebner
    Trestan EbnerCharlie Riedel/Associated Press

    K Jose Borregales, Miami (5 votes)

    A transfer from Florida International, Borregales has been a legitimate weapon for the Hurricanes this season.

    He's hit 18 of 20 field-goal attempts, including both of his tries from beyond 50 yards, and he's a perfect 35-for-35 on extra points.


    P Lou Hedley, Miami (3 votes)

    Hedley ranks second in FBS with a 47.3-yard average on 46 punts.

    However, his 45.2-yard net average that is tops among players with at least 30 punts this season earned him the All-American nod.


    KR Trestan Ebner, Baylor (3 votes)

    A dual-threat back who has accumulated 2,122 yards from scrimmage and 16 touchdowns in his four seasons at Baylor, Ebner returned just five kicks for a forgettable 12.8-yard average during his first three years on campus.

    He began the 2020 season with a pair of kick return touchdowns against Kansas, and while he has not taken one to the house since, his 32.2-yard average on 19 returns stands out to earn him the spot.


    PR Phillip Brooks, Kansas State (3 votes)

    Another Big 12 standout in the return game, Brooks has averaged 23.7 yards on his 11 punt returns.

    He also torched the hapless Jayhawks special teams unit for a pair of scores to cement his place on the All-American roster.


    Others Receiving Votes: P Max Duffy, Kentucky (1 vote), Pressley Harvin lll, Georgia Tech (1 vote), KR Avery Williams, Boise State (2 votes), RP Derius Davis, TCU (1 vote), PR Marcus Jones, Houston (1 vote)


    All stats courtesy of Sports Reference unless otherwise noted/linked.


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